By Elliott Wright
My next interview subjects in this series are Adriana and Paloma Ochoa; they live in a colorful house in the Northwest neighborhood of El Segundo that is home to four vibrant personalities (and two adorable French bulldogs). Adriana is an artist and art instructor, and brings creative opportunities to the community by way of her Create With Adriana workshops. For the past several weeks she has been sewing and selling fabric face masks.
I interviewed Adriana and her nine-year-old daughter, Paloma, by way of a socially-distanced conversation in their driveway. Read on to see what they have been doing over the last two months.
In addition to doing a lot of drawing on both iPad and paper and going on moonlit scooter rides, what have you been reading, Paloma?
P: Right now I’m on Winter Turning, which is book seven of the Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland. Each book has a really professionally drawn dragon of the character that you will be listening to—the main character of that book.
A: All of the dragons have different qualities. They have different abilities and powers.
When you take a break from sewing, Adriana, what is one Netflix show that the family has been watching?
A: Well, there is Last Chance U. It’s about football players that have been kicked out of university, whether it be for drugs, misconduct, or poor grades. They all go to this university program in Scooba, Mississippi. It’s their last chance to get back into school, pick up their grades, and all that stuff. Each season shows you all of the hard work and discipline needed to change. [The students] have this amazing counselor who befriends them, and cares about them. It moves you.
What other streaming services do you guys use, outside of Netflix?
A: On HBO, we watch We’re Here. It’s about the drag queens that go to Middle America. They put on a whole drag show. You wanna cry? Ugh, phenomenal. It’s all about being positive and spreading good love. I think there have been three episodes so far.
What sort of music has been floating through the air of the Ochoa residence?
A: Mostly old stuff: Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Dashboard Confessional, and Tom Waits. Also, my brother challenged me to share albums that influenced me. I went all the way back to the first records I listened to. They were my parents’ records, right? The Supremes' I Hear a Symphony. Barbra Streisand’s My Name is Barbra. Then the Bay City Rollers, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Grease. I have been going back to that old stuff, which is nice. Helps make you happy.
[Switching gears, I decided to ask Adriana and Paloma some questions about a post-COVID-19 world.]
Do you think people may be nicer to one another in the future, once we are allowed to assimilate again?
P: I guess people won’t shake hands.
I think everything will be the same as it was before. I think that people might not throw trash on the ground. After all this, people will know that more pollution will come [if we continue to litter].
How—if at all—will the evidence of clearer skies and water influence humanity to care more about climate change?
A: The United States has a firmly established “use and discard” or “one-time use” mentality. The idea of going to thrift stores—I used to be looked down upon for that in high school. We do the Mom Swap here in El Segundo [to reuse and repurpose many different types of items]. I think that it’s starting to happen a little bit, but I still think people would rather purchase something new rather than upcycle. I’m not sure how you get people out of that mindset.
What do you think is the best way to move forward from this virus?
P: The only disease allowed is kindness.